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Preliminary, early, intermediate and late designs, copies, perspectives by J.M.Gandy and R.A. exhibition drawing, 1778-1799, for the so-called 'Chatham mausoleum' for the Earl of Chatham died 11 May 1778 (15)

SM volume 42/172 verso by Dance was made before 18 March 1778 and is for a generic mausoleum rather than specifically for the Earl of Chatham, Whig politician and Prime Minister 1766-8, who died on 11 May 1778, nine days after Soane arrived in Rome. SM 42/122 recto by Soane was made in 1781. SM volume 42/97 is related to SM volume 42/1721 and especially SM 42/122 recto. There are no surviving dated design drawings.

If the sequence of drawings in this catalogue is correct, it seems that Soane developed Dance's initial idea and dedicated the finished design to Chatham. For convenience, the preliminary, early, intermediate and late designs catalogued here have been grouped together under the 'so-called' Chatham heading. What they appear to have in common is a plan that is largely compass-drawn and that originated as a trefoil plan that became a variant, partly elongated trefoil plan. Two other designs for mausolea by Soane have an X-plan see (Soane's architectural education ...): 'Mausoleum to the Memory of James King drowned June 9 1776', and Unidentified mausoleum on an X-plan, 1779-80.

In 1781 Soane exhibited at the Royal Academy, three drawings for 'a mausoleum' ('elevation', 'design' and 'plan') and in 1784 a 'Design for a mausoleum' and another in 1792, 'a national mausoleum' in 1799, and 'a mausoleum' in 1805. In 1793, he published a plan and elevation in Sketches in architecture ....; plate xxxviii was captioned 'Elevation of a National Museum. This design was made at Rome in the year 1779, in consequence of the death of the great Earl of Chatham...'. In 1832, Soane published a further variant design of the Chatham mausoleum in Designs Public and Private, plate xxxiv. The building type clearly had a fascination for Soane.

Related drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum: see P.du Prey, Sir John Soane, 1985, in series of 'Catalogues of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum', catalogue 16-19.

Literature. P.du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.134-9; P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.172-5; J. Lever, 'The Soane-Dance collaboration, 1771-1799, Architectural History, volume 53, 2010, pp.163-190.

Jill Lever